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News report details ax attack, fatal San Francisco hit-run

April 3, 2018 GMT
FILE--In this March 28, 2018, file photo, San Francisco Police officers work near where police say a driver got into an altercation with several people and struck them with his vehicle before fleeing in San Francisco. The suspect who drove his van into a group of friends, killing one and injuring four, initially came at the group with an ax, the friends and court records say. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu,file)
FILE--In this March 28, 2018, file photo, San Francisco Police officers work near where police say a driver got into an altercation with several people and struck them with his vehicle before fleeing in San Francisco. The suspect who drove his van into a group of friends, killing one and injuring four, initially came at the group with an ax, the friends and court records say. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu,file)
FILE--In this March 28, 2018, file photo, San Francisco Police officers work near where police say a driver got into an altercation with several people and struck them with his vehicle before fleeing in San Francisco. The suspect who drove his van into a group of friends, killing one and injuring four, initially came at the group with an ax, the friends and court records say. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu,file)
FILE--In this March 28, 2018, file photo, San Francisco Police officers work near where police say a driver got into an altercation with several people and struck them with his vehicle before fleeing in San Francisco. The suspect who drove his van into a group of friends, killing one and injuring four, initially came at the group with an ax, the friends and court records say. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu,file)
FILE--In this March 28, 2018, file photo, San Francisco Police officers work near where police say a driver got into an altercation with several people and struck them with his vehicle before fleeing in San Francisco. The suspect who drove his van into a group of friends, killing one and injuring four, initially came at the group with an ax, the friends and court records say. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu,file)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Friends who spent a morning fishing say a man attacked them with an ax before running them down with his van, killing one and injuring four others in a waterfront area of San Francisco, a newspaper reported.

Suspect Mark Anthony Dennis, 33, appeared in San Francisco County Superior Court on Monday but did not enter a plea.

He is charged with murder, attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon in the March 28 attack.

Authorities have not released a motive.

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Assistant District Attorney Patrick Mahoney said in court papers that Dennis stopped his van in an industrial area of the Dogpatch neighborhood and got out to confront the group as they were walking, the San Francisco Chronicle reported .

Mahoney said Dennis grabbed a bottle and threw it at the men then attacked them with the ax. The friends wrestled the ax away and chased the attacker back to the van.

Thinking the altercation was finished, they walked away. But Dennis did a three-point turn and plowed into the men from behind on the sidewalk, Mahoney said.

Dennis was arrested later that day in another part of the city.

Eliseo Lopez, 34, died from his injuries.

Valentin Benitez-Cruz said he was with the group but not injured. He told the newspaper that the friends had been fishing to “eat from the sea” in observance of Lent when Dennis started calling them “Mexican names.”

“My friend should have never died that way,” Benitez-Cruz said. “I don’t understand what happened. This guy was crazy.”